For the USGA Time to Try Another Way

By Adam BarrFebruary 1, 2002, 5:00 pm
Americans do not like to be told what to do. The golf associations of some countries require that golfers be certified to play full-length courses. Applicants must show suitable ability and knowledge of golf etiquette. The idea is to keep things flowing on the course.
 
Try that here, and the hapless compliance officer would be picking turf out of his teeth for weeks.
 
Some outsiders see this insistent individualism, which has carried us from Bunker Hill to bunkers in Afghanistan, as obstinacy. Call it what you will: For better or worse, its us.
 
That axiom makes me wonder about the U.S. Golf Associations recent approach to the regulation of clubhead size and length. You may recall that golf manufacturers all but choked on their eggnog Dec. 19, when the USGA proposed to limit the size of clubheads to 385 cubic centimeters and the length of clubs to 47 inches. (Related query: What will Randy Johnson do? Quit the game?)
 
On Jan. 10, in response to manufacturer outcry (and some say threats), the USGA raised the proposed size limit to 460 cc, which should give enough design headroom to any serious manufacturer out there.
 
The USGAs announcement came while the controversy over spring-like effect off the face of drivers (coefficient of restitution) was still quite warm. It hasnt been that long since the USGA instituted a limit on such springiness, even though the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, which administers golfs rules everywhere but the United States and Mexico, refused to do so. Callaway Golfs release of a purposely nonconforming club in October 2000 brought that debate to a boil.
 
The purpose of this column is not to say whether or not the USGA is correct (youre smart enough to have your own opinion), nor do I intend to join the chorus admonishing the USGA to hire public relations counsel (it should). What I want to do is propose a solution:
 
Capitalize on aspiration.
If the USGAs mission is indeed to protect and foster the game, then it stands to reason they should want more people to play it. The USGA knows as well as anyone else in golf that participation is flat, and that such flatness is a prelude to a drop-off. It knows that golf competes for American attention with many other leisure activities, most of which are cheaper and less time-consuming.
 
When Callaway introduced the nonconforming ERC, the late Ely Callaway started talking about two sets of rules: One for elite players, one for the recreational game. While he was right to insist that golf should be fun, I cant get comfortable with two sets of rules. A palpable but hard-to-define charm of golf is that anything good I do while playing it was done under the same rules Tiger Woods has to follow. The uniform rules are a way we touch greatness, however indirectly.
 
But American golfers, who spend freely on the game and devote much of their lives to it, chafe when told what to do. Rules? I had enough of those in school. I get enough of that at the office. If we roll em in the fairway, no one will be hurt. If I get 15 extra yards, we all have a better time.
 
Im not saying I agree, but the market will get what the market wants, or it will go elsewhere.
 
Cant the USGA consider changing its approach so that it welcomes into the game anyone who wants to whack around a golf ball, be it on a range or an executive course or a storied track? Get them in, get them hooked, get them spending, and then heres the important part make the game as played by the Rules of Golf something to aspire to.
 
Make it like sandlot baseball or soccer for kids. Sure, it may be tee ball or coach pitch or bumblebee for a whileah, but if you want to be like your heroes, you have to play this big fieldwith these rulesand these new challenges. But when you do ' just think how far you will have come, how much you will have accomplished.
 
You cant tell Americans what to do. But you can make them want to do what they should. No worthwhile mountain put before this populace has ever gone unclimbed.
 
So the solution is simple: Get them to play their way. Then make them want to play your way.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.